Want to lose weight? Losing weight can be a struggle but it does not have to be. I did it and found that once I accepted some basic guidelines it actually was not difficult. I want to share those guidelines with you so that you achieve your weight loss goals.
I’m going to call these first steps pre-steps.
The first thing you need to do is tell yourself that “It’s not difficult, Ican do it”. People often have a negative block when they embark on trying to drop weight. That block is simply believing it’s going to be hard….“I’m going to be hungry all the time!”. If you keep telling yourself something will be hard then 9 out of 10 times it will be so stop doing that. The second thing you need to do is to really want to lose weight. I know that might sound odd but I cannot stress enough that we only do the things we have to do to achieve goals we really want to achieve.
Now that you have your pre-steps firmly in place, let’s start.
1. If you really want to lose weight accept that 70% – 75% of weight loss is attributed to what you eat.
- Make eating healthy nutrient dense foods a lifestyle habit, not just a once in a while thing. See examples of nutrient dense foods below.
- Use portion control. Here’s my recommendation for a healthy balanced plate.
- 1/8 Protein
- 1/8 Starchy vegetables
- ¾ Non-starchy vegetables
- 2 Tbsp. Healthy fats
2. Exercise regularly doing both cardio and muscle building routines.
Cardio and strength training train your body to metabolize food more efficiently. And, here’s a shocker, exercise is not only good for weight loss, it’s also good for heart health, brain health, strengthening bones, reducing risk of type 2 diabetes, etc. For more information on the benefits of regular exercise check out The Benefits of Physical Activity.
But while I 100% encourage regular exercise (I exercise 5 – 6 times each week) know that while exercising helps you to lose weight exercising alone without changing your food choices won’t get you very far. When you start an exercise routine without changing your diet it’s possible that you’ll lose some weight but the weight loss will eventually plateau leaving you wondering what the heck is happening. This happened to me. What happens is simple – although all calories are not created equal the age old basic weight loss principle of calories in vs. calories out holds true. Until the ever elusive magic pill is invented this is something we will never get away from. To achieve weight loss you should be in a calorie deficit position (Burn more calories than you consume).
Now you’re thinking “Okay, I can just up my calorie burn by upping my exercise and I’ll lose weight”. In a perfect world that could work, but it’s not a perfect world and the calorie intake to calorie burn ratio is very far from being balanced. It takes a mighty lot of exercise to burn all the calories in that juicy hamburger you ate in less than 30 mins or the entire bag of chips you munched on all day, or dare I say all the sugar you consumed from eating grapes and other high sugar fruits all day (Sugar is sugar even if it’s from natural sources and not processed sugar).
You can try this handy Exercise Calorie Calculator to figure out how long you need to exercise to burn off that hamburger.
Another common thought is “Okay, as long as I limit my calorie intake I don’t have to exercise”. No! Exercising will help you get to that calorie deficit and exercise will help you keep the weight you’ve lost off.
The fact is what you eat, how much you eat, how much you exercise, and the type of exercises you do all work together, but diet trumps exercise for the major part of weight loss. Eating healthy by choosing nutrient dense foods and eating foods in the right portions will help you achieve your weight loss goals. Exercising until you are blue in the face without changing your diet will not.
3. Manage stress.
The stress hormone cortisol is very beneficial when you need to pull up the fight or flight response but elevated cortisol levels can increase your appetite and lead to weight gain, especially in our favourite abdominal area. For more information on the effects of cortisol and weight loss – Cortisol, Depression, and Weight Loss.
Getting 7-8 hours of sleep each night helps you with managing stress and warding off weight gain.
“In one such study, Sanjay R. Patel and colleagues analyzed data from the Nurses’ Health Study and found that women who reported sleeping 5 or fewer hours per night were at greater risk for weight gain and in general weighed more compared with women who slept 7–8 hours per night. These findings appeared in the 15 November 2006 American Journal of Epidemiology….” – “Lose Sleep, Gain Weight: Another Piece of the Obesity Puzzle”
Examples of nutrient dense foods:
Protein – Animal protein: chicken, fish, red meat, turkey. Non-animal protein: legumes, beans, nuts, seeds.
Starchy Vegetables – Pumpkin, butternut squash, legumes, beans, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, yams, corn, peas, plantain.
Non-starchy Vegetables – Broccoli, cauliflower, sweet peppers, zucchini, celery, eggplant, beets, cucumbers, onions, asparagus, bok choy, tomatoes, okra, cabbage, carrots, spinach, kale, mushrooms.
“Calories – Starchy vegetables have more calories than non-starchy vegetables. One serving of starchy vegetables provides approximately 80 calories, versus a single serving of non-starchy vegetables that has a minimal 25 calories. As an example, you can have a 1/2-cup serving of mixed peas and corn for 80 calories, or swap it for 1/2 cup of sautéed spinach and tomatoes, which has 25 calories.” “Starchy Vs. Non-starchy Vegetables“.
Healthy Fats – Extra virgin coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, organic butter, avocado oil.
As an extra note, eating healthy does not mean eating boring tasteless food. Healthy meals can be very mouth watering delicious. I’ll post more on this soon.
- Follow the 80:20 Rule. Read my post: Healthy Body…Build a Good Foundation – Follow the 80:20 Rule.
- Eat meals you prepare yourself most of the time. Most restaurants cook with cheap unhealthy partially hydrogenated oils and season food with lots of sugar and salt to enhance flavour.
These are the simple guidelines I followed to lose weight and still follow today to maintain my weight and maintain my health. If you follow these guidelines you will achieve your weight loss goals…if you really want to.
Live Healthy…Be Happy!
Have questions about losing weight? Comment below and I’ll answer them!
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